DESTRUCTION OF THE KELLY GANG
On Saturday, October 26, 1878, Sergeant KENNEDY and two police constables were murdered in cold blood by a gang of four men who took the name of their leader, EDWARD KELLY, a well-known thief; since then the gang have plundered and murdered at pleasure, defying justice with success until their career was closed yesterday by a tragic catastrophe. The KENNEDY murder, with which the KELLYS commenced their career, is not easily surpassed as a cold-blooded and gratuitous atrocity, and yet the last effort of the gang has claims to be considered the most diabolical of any. The gang ascertained that aid was being given to the police by a young man who had once known them, and who had taken unto himself a wife and had built a house, and was gaining an honest living by work upon the land. On Saturday night last they decoyed AARON SHERRITT outside his hut, and shot down the unfortunate, unarmed, and helpless man thus taken by surprise as though he were a dog. Four policemen were in the hut and some women also, and the outlaws endeavoured to burn the place down. Failing in this they took to horse to return to their haunts, but they had planned to perpetrate a further and more wicked mischief on their way. They anticipated that a special train would be despatched from Melbourne to the scene of the outrage, and they determined to rip up the rails and wreck the train, and thus take thirty or forty lives at a blow. Their motive in committing this crime was as senseless as was their object in the murder of the KENNEDY party, for it was simply to get rid for a time of the black trackers, in whose place a dozen avenging parties would have inevitably have started up. The treacherous slaying of the unhappy man SHERRITT can be understood. No doubt the outrage would strike terror into the hearts of all who might be disposed to assist the officers of justice, and it was to the interest of the gang to establish a terrorism in the district, but the wrecking of the train was purely gratuitous. If the gang had not made the effort they would have been back in their old hiding-places in the Strathbogie Ranges long before the police could have been on their tracks, and thus they might have eluded pursuit as successfully as ever. But the exploit of wrecking a train and killing some of the trackers, and riding triumphantly away, would have told well with the criminal classes who sympathise with thieves and cut-throats, and the gang determined upon making the effort. They set the trap, and they fell into it. They could not leave because they had to watch the officials in order to prevent the train being signalled. They had to watch and wait, to keep guard over the stationmaster, and scrutinise his face with an intention of “blowing out his brains” if he showed a disposition to warn his fellow-officers that they were hurrying to destruction. But the train did not blindly dash into the pit dug for it. Superintendent HARE knew better than that. He anticipated a trick of the kind, and arranged that a pilot-engine should run in front of the special, and that a watch should be kept from it on the track, and that precaution would have saved the force even if the alarm had not been given. But the alarm was given. A platelayer stopped the special outside of Glenrowan, and instead of seeing the train wrecked, the gang found the police upon them. A frightful tragedy had been averted, and justice had at last come to her own.
The scene which followed at Glenrowan is very pitiable. The fight with EDWARD KELLY was in the open, and this ruffian was captured without being killed, and without his having killed any one, though he fought with a home-made iron armour upon him. The probability is that the precaution he had taken to save his life hampered his movements, and really led to a more easy capture than would otherwise have been the case. But the remainder of the gang were brought to bay in the hotel, where they had locked up their prisoners to prevent warning being given to the train, and from this shelter it was found difficult to dislodge them. We have to tell of children wounded and of civilians shot. BYRNE, who, with a coward’s hand, had murdered the unsuspecting SHERRITT, fell first. Within six-and-thirty hours of the death of his last victim his fate was sealed. Then the hotel was fired, and HART and the younger KELLY were found dead. Whether they were killed before the conflagration or were killed by the flames appeared by the first reports to be uncertain, but the narrative of our special reporters, who were present at the scene, shows that the outlaws were dead before the fire was kindled. Thus any maudlin which might have been provoked by the fate of the last of the band is avoided. Sympathy would have been maudlin, because it must be remembered that there was no occasion for the outlaws, if they were alive, to remain in the flames. They might have surrendered to justice, or they might have elected to fight for their lives in the open. The fire was lighted of course not to burn them, but to dislodge them from their cover, and in war it is a common thing to drive an enemy from his position of vantage by these tactics. The duty of the commanding officer was to capture or to kill outlaws, and not expose his own men to be murdered—for each man who fell was a sacrifice to the lawless gang, who had no right to make resistance, but who certainly would have shed more innocent blood if a rush had been attempted. The only pity is that so many of the gang have escaped the halter, which was their proper doom. That, however, cannot be avoided. The gang is blotted out, and that is everything. They leave behind them a melancholy array of widows and orphans; the bodies of some of their hapless victims still lie uncovered, appealing to Heaven as did the body of Abel. But every other consideration is merged in a deep sense of thankfulness that a disgrace is removed from Victoria, and that the men-wolves have perished, except the wretch who can survive his wounds only to expiate his crime on the gallows.
Melbourne was a scene of unexampled excitement yesterday, in consequence of the receipt of the news that the Kelly gang had been surrounded at Glenrowan. Business appeared to be suspended, and the streets about the newspaper offices were blocked by excited crowds, eager for the latest intelligence from the scene of action. The first extraordinary was issued from The Argus office at 11 o’clock, and successive editions appeared up to half-past 5 o’clock, when we published a final issue, giving details of the destruction of the gang supplied by our reporters, who were present at the scene. Full particulars appear to-day in our news columns of a tragedy which has no parallel in Victorian annals. It seems that the gang resolved upon an effort to wreck the special train which they suspected would be sent to Beechworth upon the news of the murder they had committed there being received. On Sunday morning they descended upon Glenrowan, a little township between Benalla and Wangaratta, and at the foot of the ranges where the Kellys have had their haunts. They imprisoned the residents here, and compelled two platelayers to tear the line up beyond Glenrowan, and threatened to blow out the brains of the station-master if he ventured to signal the special. The train, however, did not proceed beyond Glenrowan. Superintendent Hare and his men at once laid siege to the hotel in which the gang were, and in which they had confined a large number of civilians. Byrne, Hart, and Daniel Kelly kept within the hotel, but Edward Kelly got out, and while returning to it was brought to the ground and secured. The murderers had provided themselves with armour made out of ploughs, and weighing about 97lb. per man. This armour was a success, for Edward Kelly was shot at in vain until the protection was suspected and his assailants fired low, when he fell at once, and was captured wounded, but alive. The civilians who were captured were allowed by the Kelly gang to leave the hotel about 10 o’clock in the morning, and the fight was then maintained for several hours between the police and Hart and Dan Kelly, Byrne having been killed early in the morning. About 3 o’clock the building was set on fire by the besieging force, and the dead bodies of Byrne, Dan Kelly, and Hart were then found in it. Of the gang Ned Kelly is the only one alive, and he is in custody. The only other death so far is that of Martin Cherry, a plate-layer, who was one of the civilians captured by the gang, and who was wounded before they left the hotel. There are five wounded, viz., Superintendent Hare, a girl and boy named Jones, a boy named Reardon, and Ned Kelly. Edward Kelly is now at Benalla, and is doing well. Superintendent Hare has been congratulated on behalf of the Government for his exertions, and has been requested to thank his men.
Ned Kelly Captured
Dan Kelly, Hart, And Byrne Dead
Children And Civilians Killed And Wounded
(BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH)
(BY OUR SPECIAL REPORTER)
Glenrowan, Monday Night.
At last the Kelly gang and the police have come within shooting distance, and the adventure has been the most tragic of any in the bushranging annals of the colony. Most people will say that it is high time, too, for the murders of the police near Mansfield occurred as long ago as the 26th of October, 1878, the Euroa outrage on the 9th December of the same year, and the Jerilderie affair on the 8th and 9th of February, 1879. The lapse of time induced many to believe that the gang was no longer in the colony, but these skeptics must now be silent. The outlaws demonstrated their presence in a brutally effective manner by the murder of the unfortunate Aaron Sherritt at Sebastopol. Immediately on the news being spread the police were in activity. A special train was despatched from Melbourne at 10.15 on Sunday night. At Essendon Sub-inspector O’Connor and his five black trackers were picked up. They had come recently from Benalla, and were en route for Queensland again. Mr. O’Connor, however, was fortunately staying with Mrs. O’Connor’s friends at Essendon for a few days before his departure. Mrs. O’Connor and her sister came along thinking that they would be able to pay a visit to Beechworth. After leaving Essendon the train travelled at a great speed, and before the passengers were aware of any accident having occurred, we had smashed through a gate about a mile beyond Craigieburn. All we noticed was a crack like a bullet striking the carriage. The brake of the engine had, however, been torn away, the footbridge of the carriage shattered, and the lamp on the guard’s van destroyed. Guard Bell was looking out of the van at the time, and had a very narrow escape. The train had to be pulled up, but after a few minutes we started again, relying on the brake of the guard’s-van. Benalla was reached at half-past 1 o’clock, and there Superintendent Hare with eight troopers and their horses were taken on board. We were now about to enter the Kelly country, and caution was necessary. As the moon was shining brightly, a man was tied on upon the front of the engine to keep a look-out for any obstruction of the line. Just before starting, however, it occurred to the authorities that it would be advisable to send a pilot engine in advance, and the man on the front of our engine was relieved. A start was made from Benalla at 2 o’clock, and at 25 minutes to 3, when we were travelling at a rapid pace, we were stopped by the pilot engine. This Stoppage occurred at Playford and Desoyre’s paddocks, about a mile and a quarter from Glenrowan. A man had met the pilot and informed the driver that the rails were torn up about a mile and a half beyond Glenrowan, and that the Kellys were waiting for us near at hand. Superintendent Hare at once ordered the carriage doors on each side to be unlocked, and his men to be in readiness. His orders were punctually obeyed, and the lights were extinguished. Mr. Hare then mounted the pilot-engine, along with a constable, and advanced. After some time he returned, and directions were given for the train to push on. Accordingly, we followed the pilot up to Glenrowan station and disembarked.
THE FIRST ENCOUNTER
No sooner were we out of the train, than Constable Bracken, the local policeman, rushed into our midst, and stated with an amount of excitement which was excusable under the circumstances, that he had just escaped from the Kellys, and that they were at that moment in possession of Jones’s public house, about a hundred yards from the station. He called upon the police to surround the house, and his advice was followed without delay. Superintendent Hare with his men, and Sub-inspector O’Connor with his black trackers, at once advanced on the building. They were accompanied by Mr. Rawlins, a volunteer from Benalla, who did good service. Mr. Hare took the lead, and charged right up to the hotel. At the station were the reporters of the Melbourne press, Mr. Carrington, of The Sketcher, and the two ladies who had accompanied us. The latter behaved with admirable courage, never betraying a symptom of fear, although bullets were whizzing about the station and striking the building and train. The first brush was exceedingly hot. The police and the gang blazed away at each other in the darkness furiously. It lasted for about a quarter of an hour, and during that time there was nothing but a succession of flashes and reports, the pinging of bullets in the air, and the shrieks of women who had been made prisoners in the hotel. Then there was a lull, but nothing could be seen for a minute or two in consequence of the smoke. In a few minutes Superintendent Hare returned to the railway-station with a shattered wrist. The first shot fired by the gang had passed through his left wrist. He bled profusely from the wound, but Mr. Carrington, artist of The Sketcher, tied up the wound with his handkerchief, and checked the hemorrhage. Mr. Hare then set out again for the fray, and cheered his men on as well as he could, but he gradually became so weak from loss of blood that he had reluctantly to retire, and was soon afterwards conveyed to Benalla by a special engine. The bullet passed right through his wrist, and it is doubtful if he will ever recover the use of his left hand. On his departure Sub-inspector O’Connor and Senior-constable Kelly took charge, and kept pelting away at the outlaws all the morning. Mr. O’Connor took up a position in a small creek in front of the hotel, and disposed his black-fellows one on each side, and stuck to this post gallantly throughout the Whole encounter. The trackers also stood the baptism of fire with fortitude, never flinching for one instant.
At about 5 o’clock in the morning a heart-rending wail of grief ascended from the hotel. The voice was easily distinguished as that of Mrs. Jones, the landlady. Mrs. Jones was lamenting the fate of her son, who had been shot in the back, as she supposed, fatally. She came out from the hotel crying bitterly and wandered into the bush on several occasions, and nature seemed to echo her grief. She always returned, however, to the hotel, until she succeeded, with the assistance of one of the prisoners, in removing her wounded boy from the building, and in sending him on to Wangaratta for medical treatment. The firing continuedintermittently, as occasion served, and bullets were continually heard coursing through the air. Several lodged in the station buildings, and a few struck the train. By this time the hotel was completely surrounded by the police and the black trackers, and a vigilant watch of the hotel was kept up during the dark hours.
At daybreak police reinforcements arrived from Benalla, Beechworth, and Wangaratta. Superintendent Sadlier came from Benalla with nine more men, Sergeant Steele, of Wangaratta, with six, thus augmenting the besieging force to about 30 men. Before daylight Senior-constable Kelly found a revolving rifle and a cap lying in the bush, about 100 yards from the hotel. The rifle was covered with blood, and a pool of blood lay near it. This was evidently the property of one of the bushrangers, and a suspicion therefore arose that they had escaped. That these articles not only belonged to one of the outlaws but to Ned Kelly himself was soon proved. When day was dawning the women and children who had been made prisoners in the hotel were allowed to depart. They were, however, challenged individually as they approached the police line, for it was thought that the outlaws might attempt to escape under some disguise.
CAPTURE OF NED KELLY
At daylight the gang were expected to make a sally out, so as to escape, if possible, to their native ranges, and the police were consequently on the alert. Close attention was paid to the hotel, as it was taken for granted that the whole gang were there. To the surprise of the police, however, they soon found themselves attacked from the rear by a man dressed in a long grey overcoat and wearing an iron mask. The appearance of the man presented an anomaly, but a little scrutiny of his appearance and behaviour soon showed that it was the veritable leader of the gang, Ned Kelly himself. On further observation it was seen that he was only armed with a revolver. He, however, walked cooly from tree to tree, and received the fire of the police with the utmost indifference, returning a shot from his revolver when a good opportunity presented itself. Three men went for him, viz., Sergeant Steele of Wangaratta, Senior-constable Kelly, and a railway guard named Dowsett. The latter, however, was only armed with a revolver. They fired at him persistently, but to their surprise with no effect. He seemed bullet-proof. It then occurred to Sergeant Steele that the fellow was encased in mail, and he then aimed at the outlaw’’ legs. His first shot of that kind made Ned stagger and the second brought him to the ground with the cry, “I am done—I am done.” Steele rushed up along with Senior-constable Kelly and others. The outlaw howled like a wild beast brought to bay, and swore at the police. He was first seized by Steele, and as that officer grappled with him he fired off another charge from his revolver. This shot was evidently intended for Steele, but from the smart way in which he secured the murderer the sergeant escaped. Kelly became gradually quiet, and it was soon found that he had been utterly disabled. He had been shot in the left foot, left leg, right hand, left arm, and twice in the region of the groin. But no bullet had penetrated his armour. Having been divested of his armour he was carried down to the railway station, and placed in a guard’s van. Subsequently he was removed to the stationmaster’s office, and his wounds were dressed there by Dr. Nicholson, of Benalla. What statements he made are given below.
THE SIEGE CONTINUED
In the meantime the siege was continued without intermission. That the three other outlaws were still in the house was confirmed by remarks made by Ned, who said they would fight to the last, and would never give in. The interest and excitement were consequently heightened. The Kelly gang were at last in the grasp of the police, and their leader actually captured. The female prisoners who escaped during the morning gave corroboration of the fact that Dan Kelly, Byrne, and Hart were still in the house. A rumour got abroad that Byrne was shot when drinking a glass of whisky at the bar of the hotel about half-past 5 o’clock in the morning, and the report afterwards turned out to be true. The remaining two kept up a steady defence from the rear of the building during the forenoon, and exposed themselves recklessly to the bullets of the police. They, however, were also clad in mail, and the shot took no effect.
At 10 o’clock a white flag or handkerchief was held out at the front door, and immediately afterwards about 30 men, all prisoners, sallied forth holding up their hands. The escaped whilst Dan Kelly and Hart were defending the back door. The police rallied up towards them with their arms ready, and called upon them to stand. The crowd did so, and in obedience to a subsequent order fell prone on the ground. They were passed, one by one, and two of them—brothers named McAuliffe—were arrested as Kelly sympathisers. The precaution thus taken was highly necessary, as the remaining outlaws might have been amongst them. The scene presented when they were all lying on the ground, and demonstrating the respectability of their characters, was unique and, in some degree amusing.
THE END - THE HOTEL BURNT
The siege was kept up all the forenoon, and till nearly 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Some time before this the shooting from the hotel ceased, and opinions were divided as to whether Dan Kelly and Hart were reserving their ammunition or were dead. The best part of the day having elapsed, the police, who were now acting under the direction of Superintendent Sadlier, determined that a decisive step should be taken. At 10 minutes to 3 o’clock another and the last volley was fired into the hotel, and under cover of the fire Senior-constable Charles Johnson, of Violet Town, ran up to the house with a bundle of straw which (having set fire to) he placed on the ground at the west side of the building. This was a moment of intense excitement, and all hearts were relieved when Johnson was seen to regain uninjured the shelter he had left. All eyes were now fixed on the silent building, and the circle of besiegers began to close in rapidly on it, some dodging from tree to tree, and many, fully persuaded that everyone in the hotel must be hors de combat, coming out boldly into the open. Just at this juncture Mrs. Skillian, sister of the Kellys, attempted to approach the house from the front. She had on a black riding-habit, with red underskirt, and white Gainsborough hat, and was a prominent object on the scene. Her arrival on the ground was almost simultaneous with the attempt to fire the building. Her object in trying to reach the house was apparently to induce the survivors, if any, to come out and surrender. The police, however, ordered her to stop. She obeyed the order, but very reluctantly, and, standing still, called out that some of the police were ordering her to go on and others to stop. She, however, went to where a knot of the beseigers were standing on the west side of the house. In the meantime the straw, which burned fiercely, had all been consumed, and at first doubts were entertained as to whether Senior-constable Johnson’s exploit had been successful. Not very many minutes elapsed, however, before smoke was seen coming out of the roof, and flames were discerned through the front window on the western side. A light westerly wind was blowing at the time, and this carried the flames from the straw underneath the wall and into the house, and as the building was lined with calico, the fire spread rapidly. Still no sign of life appeared in the building.
When the house was seen to be fairly on fire, Father Gibney, who had previously started for it but had been stopped by the police, walked up to the front door and entered it. By this time the patience of the besiegers was exhausted, and they all, regardless of shelter, rushed to the building. Father Gibney, at much personal risk from the flames, hurried into a room to the left, and there saw two bodies lying side by side on their backs. He touched them, and found life was extinct in each. These were the bodies of Dan. Kelly and Hart, and the rev. gentleman expressed the opinion, based on their position, that they must have killed one another. Whether they killed one another or whether both or one committed suicide, of whether both being mortally wounded by the besiegers, they determined to die side by side, will never be known. The priest had barely time to feel their bodies before the fire forced him to make a speedy exit from the room, and the flames had then made such rapid progress on the western side of the house that the few people who followed close on the rev. gentleman’s heels dared not attempt to rescue the two bodies. It may be here stated that, after the house had been burned down, the two bodies were removed from the embers. They presented a horrible spectacle, nothing but the trunk and skull being left, and these almost burnt to a cinder. Their armour was found near them. About the remains there was apparently nothing to lead to positive identification, but the discovery of the armour near them and other circumstances render it impossible to be doubted that they were those of Dan Kelly and Steve Hart. The latter was a much smaller man than the younger Kelly, and this difference in size was noticeable in their remains. Constable Dwyer, by-the-bye, who, followed Father Gibney into the hotel, states that he was near enough to the bodies to recognise Dan. Kelly.
As to Byrne’s body, it was found in the entrance to the bar-room, which was on the east side of the house, and there was time to remove it from the building, but not before the right side was slightly scorched. This body likewise presented a dreadful appearance. It looked as if it had been ill-nourished. The thin face was black with smoke, and the arms were bent at right angles at the elbows standing erect. The body was quite stiff, and its appearance and the position in which it was found corroborated the statement that Byrne died early yesterday morning. He is said to have received the fatal wound, which was in the groin, while drinking a glass of whisky at the bar. He had a ring on his right hand which had belonged to Constable Scanlan, who was murdered by the gang on the Wombat Ranges. The body was dressed in a blue sac coat, tweed striped trousers, Crimean shirt, and very ill-fitting boots. Like Ned Kelly, Byrne wore a bushy beard.
In the outhouse or kitchen immediately behind the main building the old Martin Cherry, who was one of the prisoners of the gang, and who was so severely wounded that he could not leave the house when the other prisoners left, was found still living, but in articulo mortis from a wound in the groin. He was promptly removed to a short distance from the burning hotel and laid on the ground, when Father Gibney administered to him the last sacrament. Cherry was insensible, and barely alive. He had evidently suffered much during the day, and death released him from his sufferings within half an hour from the time when he was removed from the hotel. It was fortunate that he was not burned alive. Cherry, who was unmarried, was an old resident of the district and was employed as a platelayer, and resided about a mile from Glenrowan. He was born at Limerick, Ireland, and was 60 years old. He is said by all who knew him to have been a quiet, harmless old man, and much regret was expressed at his death. He seems to have been shot by the attacking force, of course unintentionally.
While the house was burning some explosions were heard inside. These were alarming at first, but it was soon ascertained that they were cartridges burning. Several gun barrels were found in the debris, and also the burnt carcase of a dog which had been shot during the melée. All that was left standing of the hotel was the lamp-post and the signboard bearing the following device, which, in view of the carnage that had just been perpetrated within the walls of the hostelry, read strangely—
THE GLENROWAN INN
In a small yard at the rear of the buildings four of the outlaws’ horses, which had been purposely fired at early in the day, were found and were killed at once, to put them out of their agony. They were poor scrubbers. Two of them were shod. The police captured Byrne’s horse, a fine animal.
About the same time that Mrs. Skillian appeared on the scene, Kate Kelly and another of her sisters were also noticed, as were likewise Wild Wright and his brother Tom, and Dick Hart, brother of one of the dead outlaws. Mrs. Skillion seemed to appreciate the position most keenly, her younger sisters appearing at times rather un-concerned. Dick Hart, who was Steve Hart’s senior, walked about very coolly.
INTERVIEW WITH NED KELLY
After the house had been burned Ned Kelly’s three sisters and Tom Wright were allowed an interview with him. Tom Wright as well as the sisters kissed the wounded man, and a brief conversation ensued, Ned Kelly having to a certain extent recovered from the exhaustion consequent on his wounds. At times his eyes were quite bright, and, although he was of course excessively weak, his remarkably powerful physique enabled him to talk rather freely. During the interview he stated:—“I was at last surrounded by the police, and only had a revolver, with which I fired four shots. But it was no good. I had half a mind to shoot myself. I loaded my rifle, but could not hold it after I was wounded. I had plenty of ammunition, but it was no good to me. I got shot in the arm, and told Byrne and Dan so. I could have got off, but when I saw them all pounding away, I told Dan I would see it over, and wait until morning.”
“What on earth induced you to go to the hotel?” inquired a spectator.
“We could not do it anywhere else,” replied Kelly, eyeing the spectators who were strangers to him suspiciously.
“I would,” he continued, “have fought them in the train, or else upset it if I had the chance. I didn’t care a bugger who was in it, but I knew on Sunday morning there would be no usual passengers. I first tackled the line, and could not pull it up, and then came to Glenrowan station.”
“Since the Jerilderie affair,” remarked a spectator, “we thought you had gone to Queensland.”
“It would not do for everyone to think the same way” was Kelly’s reply. “If I were once right again,” he continued, “we would go to the barracks, and shoot every one of the bloody traps, and not give one a chance.”
Mrs. Skillion (to her brother).—“It’s a wonder you did not keep behind a tree.”
Ned Kelly.—“I had a chance at several policemen during the night, but declined to fire. My arm was broke the first fire. I got away into the bush, and found my mare, and could have rushed away, but wanted to see the thing out, and remained in the bush.”
A sad scene ensued when Wild Wright led Mrs. Skillion to the horrible object which was all that remained of her brother Dan. She bent over it, raised a dirge-like cry, and wept bitterly. Dick Hart applied for the body of his brother, but was told he could not have it until after the post-mortem examination. The inquest on the bodies will be held at Benalla.
Michael Reardon, aged 18 years, was shot through the shoulder, but it is apparently only a flesh wound. The boy Jones was dangerously shot in the thigh. Both have been sent to the Wangaratta Hospital.
A cannon was brought up as far as Seymour, but as the burning of Jones’s Hotel had proved successful, it was countermanded.
THE ATTEMPT ON THE TRAIN
According to Ned Kelly, the gang after shooting Sherritt at Sebastopol, rode openly through the streets of Beechworth, and then came on to Glenrowan for the purpose of wrecking any special police train which might be sent after them, in the hope of destroying the blacktrackers. They descended on Glenrowan at about three o’clock on Sunday morning, and rousing up all the inhabitants of the township bailed them up. Feeling unable to lift the rails themselves, they compelled the line-repairers of the district and others to do so. The spot selected was on the first turning after reaching Glenrowan, at a culvert and on an incline. One rail was raised on each side, and the sleepers were removed. The diabolical object in view was the destruction of the special train. Having performed this fiendish piece of work Kelly returned to the township, and, bailing all the people up, kept them prisoners in the station-master’s house and Jones’s hotel. By 3 o’clock on Monday morning, they gathered all their captives into the hotel, and the number of those unfortunate people amounted to at one time to 47, as already stated. The police then arrived, and the prisoners escaped at intervals during the night.
The first attack of the police was a brilliant affair. They approached the house quickly, but stealthily. Their arrival, however, was expected, and they were met with a volley from the verandah of the hotel. Special trains were run during the morning between Glenrowan and Benalla, and Mrs. O’Connor and her sister―who may justly be called the heroines of the day, for they behaved bravely―were taken on by one of them to Benalla in the forenoon. Ned Kelly after being secured quieted down, and became absolutely tame. He is very reserved as to anything connected with his comrades, but answered questions freely when his individual case was alone concerned. He appeared to be suffering from a severe shock and exhaustion, and trembled in every limb. Now and again he fainted, but restoratives brought him around, and in his stronger moments he made the following statements:―
NED KELLY’S STATEMENTS
“I was going down to meet the special train with some of my mates, and intended to rake it with shot; but it arrived before I expected, and I then returned to the hotel. I expected the train would go on, and I had the rails pulled up so that these bloody blacktrackers might be settled. I do not say what brought me to Glenrowan, but it seems much. Anyhow I could have got away last night, for I got into the bush with my grey mare, and lay there all night. But I wanted to see the thing end. In the first volley the police fired I was wounded on the left foot; soon afterwards I was shot through the left arm. I got these wounds in front of the house. I do not care what people say about Sergeant Kennedy’s death. I have made my statement of the affair, and If the public don’t believe me I can’t help it; but I am satisfied it is not true that Scanlan was shot kneeling. He never got off his horse. I fired three or four shots from the front of Jones’s hotel, but who I was firing at I do not know. I simply fired where I saw police. I escaped to the bush, and remained there overnight. I could have shot several constables if I liked. Two passed close to me. I could have shot them before they could shoot. I was a good distance away at one time, but came back. Why don’t the police use bullets instead of duck-shot? I have got one charge of duck-shot in my leg. One policeman who was firing at me was a splendid shot, but I do not know his name. I daresay I would have done well to have ridden away on my grey mare. The bullets that struck my armour felt like blows from a man’s fist. I wanted to fire into the carriages, but the police started on to us too quickly. I expected the police to come.” Inspector Sadleir.—“You wanted, then, to kill the people in the train?” Kelly.—“Yes, of course I did; God help them, but they would have got shot all the same. Would they not have tried to kill me?”
THE BULLET-PROOF ARMOUR
When the first attack subsided, the outlaws were heard calling, “Come on you bastards; the bloody police can’t do us any harm.” The armour in which each member of the gang was clad was of a most substantial character. It was made of iron a quarter of an inch thick, and consisted of a long breast-plate, shoulder-plates, back-guard, and helmet. The helmet resembled a nail can without a crown, and with a long slit at the elevation of the eyes to look through. All these articles are believed to have been made by two men, one living near Greta, and the other near Oxley. The iron was procured by the larceny of ploughshares, and larcenies of this kind having been rather frequent of late in the Kelly district the police had begun to suspect that the gang were preparing for action. Ned Kelly’s armour alone weighed 97lb., a considerable weight to carry on horseback. There are five bullet marks on the helmet, three on the breast-plate, nine on the back-plate, and one on the shoulder-plate. His wounds, so far as at present known, are:—Two on the right arm, several on the right leg, one on left foot, one on right hand, and two near the groin.
THE STATIONMASTER'S NARRATIVE
John Stanistreet, the stationmaster at Glenrowan, states:―”About 3 o’clock on Sunday morning a knock came to my door. I live at the gatehouse, within 100 yards of the station, on the Melbourne side. I jumped out of bed, and, thinking it was someone wishing to get through the gates in a hurry, I proceeded to dress, and after getting half my clothes on I went to the door. Just as I arrived at the door it was burst in. Previous to that there was some impertinent talk outside to get me to open quickly. When the door was burst in I asked, ‘Who are you; what is this for?’ The answer was, ‘I am Ned Kelly.’ I saw a man clad in an overcoat, who walked in with me to my bedroom. Mrs. Stanistreet and the children were there in bed. There were two little girls and one infant. Ned Kelly said to me, ‘You have to come with me and take up the rails.’ I replied, ‘Wait until I dress;’ and I completed my dress, and followed him out of the house on the railway line. I found seven or eight men standing at the gate looking over the line near Mrs. Jones’s Glenrowan Inn. Ned Kelly, speaking to me, said, ‘Now you direct those men how to raise some of the rails, as we expect a special train very soon.’ I objected, saying, ‘I know nothing about lifting rails off the line. The only persons that understand it are the repairers, and they live outside and on the line.’ Ned went on alone to Reardon the platelayers house, which stands about a quarter of a mile along the line southward. I and the other men were left in charge of Steve Hart. Ned Kelly went on to Reardon’s house; Steve Hart gave me a prod with his gun in the side, and said, ‘You get the tools out that are necessary to raise those rails.’ I replied, ‘I have not the key of the chest.’ He said, ‘We’ll break the lock,’ and he got one of the men to do so. They took all the tools out of the chest, which lay in a back shed or toolhouse between the station and the crossing. Soon afterwards Ned and two of the repairers, Reardon and Sullivan, arrived. Ned, accompanied by these two men, proceeded down the line towards Wangaratta. We stood with Hart in the cold at the hut for about two hours. At last Ned Kelly and the repairer returned. Ned inquired about the signalling on the line―how I stopped trains with the signal lamps. I told him white is right and red wrong, and green generally ‘come along.’ He then said, ‘There is a special train coming, and you will give no signal.’ Then, speaking to Hart, he said, ‘Watch his countenance, and if he gives any signal shoot him.’ He marched us into my house, and left us under the charge of Steve Hart. Subsequently other persons were made prisoners and lodged in my house to the number of about 17. They were the Reardon family, the Ryan family, Tom Cameron, son of a gatekeeper on the line, and others whom I don’t remember. We were locked up all day on Sunday, but we were allowed out under surveillance. The women were allowed to go to Jones’s Hotel about dark. All the men but myself and family went to the hotel soon afterwards. Steve Hart remained with us all night. During the night Dan Kelly relieved Hart, and he was afterwards relieved by Byrne. Just before the special train arrived this morning I was ordered by Hart, who was on and off duty throughout the night, to follow him over to Jones’s, and not to signal the train. I went into the back kitchen, and found there Mrs. Jones, with her daughter about 14, and two younger children. There was also a man there named Neil McKean. By this time the train had arrived, and firing was going on furiously, and we all took shelter about the chimney. The house is a mere shell of a structure. The gang disappeared from me when the firing commenced. A bullet passed right through the kitchen, and grazed the temple of Jane Jones, aged 14, daughter of the landlord. She exclaimed, ‘I am shot,’ and as she turned to me I saw her head bleeding, and told her it was nothing serious. Poor Mrs. Jones commenced to cry bitterly. I left the kitchen and went into the back yard, and passed the gang there. They were standing together at the kitchen chimney. I cannot say whether there were three or four of them. One of them said, ‘If you go out you will be shot.’ I walked straight to my house. Firing was going on, but I was uninjured. Of course I was challenged as I passed through. I omitted to state that on Sunday night Steve Hart demanded my revolver from me, and I had to give it up.
ROBERT GIBBONS NARRATIVE
Robert Gibbons, farmer, living at present with Mr. Reynolds, states:―“I came to the railway station with Mr. Reynolds’s brother at about 8 o’clock on Sunday night to bring Mr. Reynolds’ little boy home. He had gone to Sunday-school, and we could not understand what was detaining hum. We called at the stationmaster’s house, and Mrs. Stanistreet informed us that Mr. Hart was inside, and that they had been stuck up since 3 o’clock that morning. We went in and saw Steve Hart, who presented his firearms, and told us we had to remain there. We had been there about two hours when Ned Kelly came. Hart then ordered us all to come outside. Ned told us we would all have to go with him to the police station. We went, and he kept us there about two hours. He left us for a time, and returned after about an hour and a half with the constable. Byrne was in charge of us during Ned’s absence. Ned told Mr. Reynolds’ brother and myself to return with him to Jones’s Hotel. We went with him, and he put us all in the sittingroom. We remained there from 10 o’clock on Sunday night until 3 o’clock this (Monday) morning. During that time we went from one room to another, but were not allowed to go outside. Byrne was in charge of the back door, and the front one was locked. Ned and Dan Kelly were walking about the house quite jolly. Hart was at the stationmaster’s house until about 3 o’clock. The bushrangers were drinking and making themselves quite jolly. At about 3 on Monday morning Ned Kelly came into the sitting room, and told us we were not to whisper a word of anything that was said there, or seen about him. ‘If I hear any one doing so,’ he said, ‘I will shoot him.’ He went to the door of the room and said, ‘Here she comes,’ evidently thinking that the train was about to be wrecked. With that they seemed to me to be making preparations. The gang went out to the back for a few minutes, and on coming back they proclaimed that the first man who left the house would be shot. Two of the gang mounted their horses and rode away. I saw them through the window. They returned in about ten minutes. I saw two, one of them being Dan Kelly, go into a small room. They came out soon afterwards fully armed, and prepared for a fight. Then the other two did the same. Not long after that the police arrived, when the firing commenced. There must have been about 40 men, women, and children prisoners in the house at this time. There was a great shrieking of the women and children. Mrs. Jones’s eldest daughter (about 14) got shot in the side of the head, and her eldest boy was shot in the thigh. We all lay down on the floor for safety, as the bullets were rattling on the house. We were packed so close that he had to lie on our sides, and lay in that position until we came out about 10 o’clock. Those next the door led the way, and we were prompted to leave by hearing the police, as we thought, giving the gang their last warning. We feared, in fact, that the firing would be commenced again heavier than ever. We did not see any of the gang when we left, as they were in the black room. We were not maltreated in any way.”
STATEMENT OF MRS. REARDON
“I am the wife of James Reardon, platelayer. We live in a house near the Glenrowan Railway station, on the opposite side of the line to Mrs. Jones’s Hotel. On Saturday night our family, consisting of my husband, myself, and our children―a boy 18, a girl seven, and a boy three years old―went to bed. At 3 o’clock on Sunday morning we were awakened by the dog barking. My husband asked how it was the dog had got out of the stable. I replied I had heard a horseman jump the fence. My husband got up, and opened the door, where he was met by Ned Kelly and another platelayer named Sullivan, whom Kelly had taken. We were bailed up, and taken to the stationmaster’s house, and kept there until Sunday evening. We were allowed to walk about, and foolishly walked to Jones’s Hotel. There we found a large number of prisoners, amongst whom were John Delaney, of Greta, with his brother’s William and Patrick; W. S. Cook, Martin Cherry, platelayer; John Larkin, a farmer; William Mortimer, a farmer; Edward Reynolds, Robert Gibbons, a brother of the postmaster; two of the McAuliffe’s, and many others I don’t remember. I made several attempts to escape from the hotel. At daybreak this (Monday) morning I came out with my infant child, and got refuge in one of the railway carriages.”
SERGEANT STEELE’S STATEMENT
Sergeant Arthur Loftus Maule Steele, of Wangaratta states:―“I arrived at Glenrowan with five men about 5 a. m. Others came down by train. I was challenged in the vicinity of the hotel by the police, and I informed them whom we were. I scattered my men around the hotel. I went up to the nearest tree behind the back door. Heard no firing up to that time. A woman and child came to the back door screaming. I told her to run on quick, and she would not be molested. A man then came to the back door, and I called upon him to throw up his hands or I would fire on him. I was only about 25 yards from the house. The man did not hold up his hands, but stooped and ran towards the stable. I fired at him, and he turned and ran back into the house. I am certain that the man must have been injured, as he screamed, and fell towards the door. I was firing with slugs. There was then some hot firing, and bullets were whistling all round. From the ring of the slugs I at once recognised that the man wore mail. I then heard some men roaring out. It was then just breaking day. When I looked round I saw Ned Kelly stalking round behind me in the bush. He was marching down on the house quite deliberately, and from his rig-out I supposed him at first to be a blackfellow; but seeing him present a revolver, and fire at the police, I knew he must be one of the gang. I could see the bullets flying about his head and chest, and concluded that he also had armour on. I then made a run for him, and got within 10 or 15 yards of him, when he turned round, and aimed at me with a revolver. I immediately shot at his legs, and he staggered. He still aimed at me, so I gave him the second barrel, also in the legs about the knees. I was at this time in the open. He fell on my second charge, and said, ‘I’m done, I’m done.’ I ran up to him then, and just as I got up he tried to get the revolver pointed on me again. I ran behind, and he could not twist round fast enough. I got up to him, seized hold of the revolver, turned it off from me, and he fired it off in my hand. Senior-constable Kelly came up at this juncture, and caught hold of him, and in a few seconds there was quite a group of people around us. We disarmed and secured him. We only found one revolver on him. Having divested him of his armour, we carried him to the railway-station. Just after I had seized him the rush of the other people knocked Kelly and me over, and I received a rather awkward, and his armour injured my side.”
STATEMENT OF CHARLES S. RAWLINS
“I accompanied the detachment of police which went from Benalla. On arriving at Glenrowan I went with Superintendent Hare towards the hotel where the Kellys were lodged. Hare went straight towards the house, and I went to the railway gates. Two of the black trackers were with us. They got into a ditch, and I got behind one of the railway gateposts. I fired at once, three times, and then I heard Hare say, ‘I am shot, any way.’ After a few minutes I took him to the station-master’s house, which is close to the railway-gates. Then I took him to the railway station, and subsequently, at Mr. Hare’s request, I got some ammunition and went round the line distributing it.”
STATEMENT OF CONSTABLE HUGH BRACKEN
“I am stationed at Greta, five miles from Glenrowan. At 11 o’clock on Sunday night I was called by Edward Reynolds. I was then at the police station, which is one mile from the railway station. I had been suffering from a bilious attack, and was very weak. At first I didn’t reply, but another voice called me, and then I opened the door. Just as I did so, Ned Kelly presented a revolver at my head. He was masked with an iron helmet, and I didn’t at first know it was Ned Kelly. The mask was like a nail can. He told me to bail up, and throw my hands up. I said, ‘You are not Ned Kelly; you are only one of the police trying my mettle.’ He continued, ‘Throw up your arms, or you are a dead man.’ I put one hand up, and he said, ‘Put the other up; we want no nonsense.’ I complied. He then took my gun and revolver, and asked me for cartridges. I told him I had only those the gun and revolver were loaded with. Then he said, ‘I believe you have a very fast horse.” He referred to a horse called ‘Sir Solomon,’ which I possess. ‘Sir Solomon’ is crippled, but I had a good horse in the stable. He ordered me to lead him to the stable, and I did so. We saddled the horse, bridled it, and then he told me to mount. Ned Kelly was accompanied by Byrne. Both were mounted, and a man named Reynolds was with them on foot. Byrne took hold of my horse’s bridle, and Ned Kelly followed up behind with Reynolds on foot. We proceeded to Jones’s Hotel. Robert Gibbons, another prisoner also accompanied us. When we arrived at the hotel, we found a lot of people stuck up there. We were put in one of the rooms of the hotel. The gang were all armed with revolvers and rifles. There were only three of them there, Hart being, I believe, at the postmaster’s house at the time. Byrne locked the front door, and I watched were he put the key. He laid it carelessly near the chimney. Believing a special train would be coming up with police, I secured the key when Byrne’s back was turned and put it in my pocket. I heard the special train arrive. Thereupon the gang went into the back room. This was my opportunity, and I quietly went to the front door, unlocked it, and rushed out. I ran to the railway station, found the train had arrived and the police on the platform; told them where the Kellys were, and asked them to surround the place immediately. After a few minutes, Superintendent Hare returned with his arm wounded. I then secured a horse and rode off to Wangaratta, about 12 miles distant. Told the police there what had happened, and sent telegrams all over the district, and the police of Wangaratta immediately started for the scene, I returning with them.”
STATEMENT OF THE VERY REV. M. GIBNEY
“I am a Catholic priest, of Perth, West Australia. I was travelling on the North-Eastern line, having left Melbourne by the first down train in the morning. On arriving at Glenrowan Station, having heard, while going there, that the Kelly gang were at Jones’ Hotel, I got out of the train, abandoning my intention to proceed further on. Consequently my presence at the scene was, so to speak, accidental. I got out at Glenrowan, because I thought I might be of use in my clerical capacity. The train arrived at Glenrowan between 12 noon and 1 o’clock, and I went at once into the room where Ned Kelly was lying at the station. I don’t think he is dying. He is penitent, and shows a very good disposition. When I asked him to say ‘Lord Jesus have mercy on me,’ he said it, and added, ‘It’s not to-day I began to say that.’ I heard his confession, which I shall not be expected to repeat. As I at first thought he was dying I anointed him.”
STATEMENT BY SENIOR-CONSTABLE KELLY
“When we started from the platform we ran down towards the railway gates, hearing that the gang were in Jones’ public house. We had not time to scatter, but made at once for the front of the house, a few of the men going round to the back. As we neared the place the gang slipped out on the verandah, and began to fire on us. Superintendent Hare was near me, as was also Mr. Rawlins, a volunteer from Benalla. Two or three constables fired, and Mr. Hare was wounded, a bullet striking his wrist. He said to me, ‘Kelly, for God’s sake surround the house and don’t let them escape.’ With his right hand he forthwith fired two shots. Handing his gun to Mr. Rawlins he then retired, saying, ‘Kelly, place the men under cover.’ I immediately placed the men around the house. Inspector O’Connor, with his trackers, took up a position in front, and I went round to the further part of the premises, taking Constable Arthur with me. We crept on our faces and hands for about 400 yards, and reached a tree 50 yards from the house. We got at the back of this tree, which was in the scrub. There we found a six-barrelled revolving rifle, covered with blood, and a skull-cap. We kept a look out, and every time we fancied we saw anyone in the hotel we fired. We shot four horses which were saddled and tied up at the back door, with a view to prevent escape on them. When he left the train Constable Bracken, who had just escaped from the hotel, told us the gang were all inside. He jumped on one of the horses, which was saddled, and rode off to Wangaratta for additional assistance. At half-past 6 o’clock he returned in company with Sergeant Steele and eight men, who at once assisted in mounting guard round the house. We continued firing on the house until about 8 o’clock, when Ned Kelly made his appearance under the brow of the hill, about 150 yards from the hotel, and deliberately fired a revolver at me. He was heavily armoured, and our men kept up a continuous fire at him, Sergeant Steele being at one side of him and myself and Dowsett (a railway guard) on the other side. Gradually we closed on him, all the while keeping up a steady fire from the rifles. Finding our shots had no effect on his body we aimed at his head, arms, and legs. He walked boldly forward, as if to defy us. Some of our men retired behind trees and logs, and in about 10 minutes afterwards he fell beside a fallen tree at which we were posted. We at once rushed forward and caught him. I caught him by the head, and Steele grasped his hand, in which he held a revolver. He fired it off, but it did no damage. We took his armour off, and carried him to the railway station. Found, on searching him, only a 3d. piece, a silver Geneva watch, and a quantity of ammunition. I asked him to tell me where Sergeant Kennedy’s watch, was so that I might get it for Mrs. Kennedy. He replied, ‘I can’t tell you; I would not like to tell you about it.’ He said―‘I had to shoot Sergeant Kennedy and Scanlan for my own safety, and I can’t tell you any more.’” We then gave him over to Mr. Sadleir and the medical gentlemen.
THE MURDER OF SHERRITT
With regard to the murder of Aaron Sherritt, near Beechworth, one of the constables present gives the following narrative:―“There were four of us sent out to watch Byrne’s mother’s house. We were planted for a few weeks in Sherritt’s hut, which is about seven miles from Beechworth. About five minutes past 6 o’clock on Saturday evening a man knocked at the door. Sherritt opened it, and said, ‘Who’s here?’ The man replied, ‘I have lost my way. Can you put me on the right track for Sebastopol?” Mrs. Aaron Sherritt told her husband to go out and direct the man. He accordingly went out, and found out that the man was Antonio Wicks, a digger, and that he was handcuffed. Joe Byrne stood behind Wicks, and the moment Sherritt stepped forward Byrne shot him through the eye. Sherritt staggered backwards, and then received another bullet in the chest and died. Sherritt’s wife and mother-in-law were in the house, and we were in the bedroom. Byrne entered the house, and asked who was in the bedroom. Mrs. Sherritt said it was a man. Byrne then ordered her to bring the man out. She came in, and we kept her there. Byrne then said to Mrs. Sherritt, ‘I will shoot your mother if you don’t come out.’ Mrs. Sherritt’s mother then came into the room to bring her out, and we kept them back. Byrne said, ‘I will —— soon make you come out,’ and he, with Dan Kelly, put seven bullets through the walls of the hut. We never got a chance of shooting at them. Dan Kelly said, ‘We will set fire to the —— place,’ and he broke up a barrel for firewood. Byrne asked Mrs. Sherritt if she used kerosene or candles, and when she said candles, he said he wanted kerosene to set the place alight. We heard them talking on the outside until 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning, when they must have left. Byrne asked us to surrender, and we replied that we would sooner die. When they threatened to burn the house down, Mrs. Barry (Mrs. Sherritt’s mother) said, ‘Do not burn down the house. I know, Byrne, you have got a soft heart.’ Byrne replied, ‘I have a heart as hard as stone. I will shoot the whole lot of them like dogs.’ We remained in the hut until last night, when we were relieved by another party of police.”
THE INQUEST ON SHERRITT
An inquest was commenced to-day on the body of Aaron Sherritt, who was shot by Byrne at Sebastopol on Saturday evening. His father, mother-in-law, and brother, and the doctor gave evidence. There were two bullet wounds, but no bullet was found in the body. The inquest was adjourned until Wednesday for the attendance of the policeman who were in the hut when the murder was committed.
Sherritt was buried this evening.
New South Wales.
(FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT)
The news in reference to the capture of the Kelly gang caused the greatest excitement throughout the city, and for some time nothing else was talked about. The newspapers published second and third editions and all the fresh news was eagerly ??? upon by the public. Great satisfaction was expressed by the capture. The excitement about the Kellys was intense during the early part of the evening, and the towns paper offices were besieged by crowds of people awaiting the latest news. The t?? telegrams giving the particulars of the closing scene created a great sensation.
(FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT)
Considerable interest is taken in the news of the capture of Ned Kelly, and the encounter between the police and the gang.
THE MINISTRY AND THE KELLYS
Immediately after the present Ministry were settled in office the Chief Secretary, Mr. Ramsay, in consultation with Mr. Service, made a special investigation into the conduct of the police in connexion with the Kelly outrages. Several interviews were held with Captain Standish, the chief commissioner. Mr. Ramsay pointed out the length of time that had elapsed since the first outbreak had occurred, and intimated that unless a more effectual search for the outlaws took place it would be his duty to see that there was an immediate reorganisation of the police force. Various changes were made, and movements adopted which were confidentially communicated to the press, but which it was not thought advisable in the interests of justice to make public. Among other recommendations that were adopted was the determination to withdraw the reward offered for information unless the Kellys were captured within a certain time, and there is no doubt that from what has since transpired this resolution has operated with good effect. When Superintendent Hare went to take charge of the Beechworth district he received orders from Mr. Ramsay that the department routine must be set aside altogether, and that he was at liberty to pick his men and to make whatever arrangements he thought proper without interference from Melbourne, and that his expenses were not to be questioned by the department. In this way a great amount of energy has been latterly thrown into the search, and gradually the gang became aware that they were closely followed. Important information has, in fact, been in the hands of the police for some days past, and an outbreak in some direction was anticipated. News of the Beechworth outrage reached Melbourne on Sunday evening, and it was immediately communicated to the Chief Secretary. He found that the police did not purpose to start for the scene of the occurrence until the ordinary train on Monday morning, and he at once ordered a special train to start as early as possible on Sunday evening. It is now perfectly obvious that had this step not been taken, the old tale would have been repeated of another outrage and another disappearance of the gang. When the special arrived at Benalla, Superintendent Hare recommended that a pilot engine should be sent in front, as he apprehended the bushrangers would endeavour to rip up the track, and this suggestion was acted upon. During yesterday morning Mr. Ramsay communicated with Colonel Anderson, and made the suggestion that cannon should be sent up to batter down the house. He also telegraphed to Superintendent Hare―“Is it possible to construct a bullet-proof shield or screen of deals backed with hardwood? This mounted on a dray might enable the men to approach the house.”
As the day wore on, and it was doubtful whether the gang would be dislodged before dark, the Chief Secretary sent for Mr. Ellery, and asked him if he could proceed to Glenrowan by special train with the electric light, so as to prevent the escape of the murderers. Mr. Ellery said that means could not be adopted in time to procure the light, and he also said that the light is so vivid and direct that it throws dark shadows, and probably would enable the bushrangers to escape rather than assist in effecting their capture. He recommended that bonfires should be made round the building, which would lighten the space between them and it. This suggestion was also telegraphed to the officer in command.
Captain Standish was also directed by Mr. Ramsay to proceed by special train with medical assistance, and Dr. Chas. Ryan was selected by the Chief Secretary to accompany Captain Standish on account of his experience in gunshot wounds, gained at the siege of Plevna and elsewhere.
When the first news was received Mr. Ramsay telegraphed to Superintendent Hare on behalf of the Government, thanking him most heartily for his services, and requesting him in his name and on behalf of the Ministry to communicate his thanks to the men under his command.
It has been known for some time past that the Queensland black trackers were under orders to leave the colony, and that they were to have departed to-day. Mr. Ramsay telegraphed last week to the Queensland Chief Secretary, asking that they might be allowed to stop some short time longer, but Mr. Palmer refused. On Sunday, after the intelligence of the outbreak, Mr. Ramsay telegraphed again, pointing out the importance of the men being allowed to remain and assist in the search, and Mr. Palmer gave his consent. Yesterday Mr. Palmer sent this further telegram:―
“I replied hastily to your telegram last night, authorising you to detain O’Connor and the native troopers, and feel bound to say that, although O’Connor has never officially reported the fact, it has been stated by Queenslanders who have been in Victoria that a general impression exists, both there and here, that a considerable amount of jealousy is felt by the Victorian police towards our men. I can assure you that unless our troopers, with their officers, are allowed to go to the front at once, there will be little use calling upon them to do so after the white police have effaced the tracks.―H. S. PALMER.”
It may be mentioned that Superintendent Chomley is now in Queensland, having been sent there by Mr. Ramsay to obtain black trackers to take the place of the men about to be withdrawn. Some inquiry into the cause of the discontent between the Queensland police and our own seems to be necessary.
Mr. Ramsay received the following telegram from the Premier of New South Wales:―
“Great satisfaction in prospect of the complete destruction of the Kelly gang. Congratulate your Government.―H. S. PARKES.”
To this a suitable reply was sent.
(FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT)
The news of the re-appearance of the Kelly gang, and the encounter with the police at Glenrowan, caused considerable excitement here to-day, and political matters were temporarily lost sight of. The local newspapers published extraordinaries at intervals during the afternoon, describing the progress of the siege. The demand for these was constant; the news was read with the utmost eagerness, and large numbers of persons awaited impatiently the arrival of further telegrams. The greatest satisfaction was expressed on all hands at the capture of the gang, though some regret was felt that they could not all have been taken alive.